California Church Files Reply Brief for Emergency Relief

Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, California
Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, California (Facebook/HRock Church)

Liberty Counsel has filed the reply on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry regarding the request for an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Gov. Gavin Newsom's unconstitutional orders.

Within 45 minutes of filing the motion last Friday, the court ordered Gov. Newsom to respond by 5:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, and Harvest Rock Church to reply on Wednesday by 5:00 p.m. PTD. In his response, the governor has not presented any legitimate evidence to justify his discriminatory orders that prohibit all worship, including home Bible studies and fellowship with anyone who does not live in the home. Yet Gov. Newsom continues to encourage mass gatherings of protesters throughout the state.

The Court of Appeals could rule at any time on the emergency request.

The lawsuit challenges both the total ban on in-person worship (including in private homes) in the counties on the "County Monitoring List" and the ban on singing and chanting in the remaining counties. In addition to in-person worship at Harvest Rock Church, the church also has many life groups, which are home Bible studies and fellowship groups. These too are prohibited under Gov. Newsom's July 6 (no singing and chanting) and July 13 (no worship) orders. Yet while he discriminates against churches, home Bible studies and fellowship meetings, he allows feeding, counseling and housing people in the same building where worship services occur. Newsom argues that only the worship services should be prohibited while the other nonreligious services should be allowed.

Gov. Newsom has also encouraged thousands of protesters to gather throughout the state. Pasadena has allowed hundreds and thousands of protesters, and neither the Pasadena Public Health Department nor the Pasadena prosecutor have attempted to stop the protests in which people are crowded together, many of them not wearing masks.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, "Governor Gavin Newsom has not presented any legitimate evidence to justify his discriminatory orders because there is none. He cannot state why thousands of protesters are less 'dangerous' to public health than a responsibly distanced and sanitized worship service."

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